Thousands braved light rainfall and temperatures in the 30s Saturday to witness Elder Dallin H. Oaks preside over the groundbreaking ceremony for the Payson Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).
“Standing adjacent to I-15, the major north-south artery in Utah, the Payson Utah Temple will be a dominant and visible influence on the millions who pass by here by day and by night,” said Elder Oaks, who is a member of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Elder Oaks was joined by Elders Steven E. Snow and Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy, who serves as the executive director of the Church's Temple Department.
The Payson Utah Temple, along with the soon-to-be-converted Provo Tabernacle, will help meet the needs of a growing Church membership in the area and will ease the heavy use of the Provo Temple, which is one of the busiest in the Church. The Payson Temple will bring to 15 the number of operating and announced temples in Utah.
"Members of the Church in this part of Utah County have been tremendously faithful in going to the temple," Elder Walker said. "They're very busy, so clearly the First Presidency felt it was necessary to have another temple here in Utah County."
The property for the Payson Temple is located on gently sloping ground at approximately 930 West and 1550 South on the southwest side of Payson, a mile from the 800 South I-15 interchange. The property offers scenic views of the area as well as easy access to the freeway.
The new temple will serve approximately 22 stakes from Spanish Fork to Nephi comprising approximately 78,000 Church members. Temple-going members have been driving to Provo or Manti for temple services.
Latter-day Saint temples provide a place where Church members make promises and commitments to God and where the highest sacraments of the faith occur, such as the marriage of couples for eternity. Temples differ from the tens of thousands of local meetinghouses where members typically meet for Sunday worship services and midweek social activities.
The first Latter-day Saint temple was built in 1836 by the Church in Kirtland, Ohio. The first Utah temple was completed in St. George in 1877, followed by Logan in 1884, Manti in 1888, and Salt Lake City in 1893.
The Payson Temple will bring the total number of temples worldwide already in operation or in the planning and construction phases to 166.